Industry Coupon Conference Recap

Illuminating Coupon Trends in the Alamo:

The Association of Coupon Professionals Celebrates 10th Annual Industry Coupon Conference With

“The Modernization of Coupons: Evolution or Revolution?”

The Scene

From the historic Alamo Mission to the modern-day River Walk, San Antonio has been witness to its own set of revolutions and recently provided the backdrop for coupon experts to share insights and explore industry trends. Coupons are entering a pivotal moment in time as demographics shift and preferences change.

The professionals who gathered recently in San Antonio set out to explore whether the modernization of coupons represented an evolution of a timeless promotional vehicle or a complete revolution of how shoppers and brands utilize coupons within their promotional mix.

To mark this industry journey, the Association of Coupon Professionals (ACP) recently celebrated its 10th Annual Industry Coupon Conference, “The Modernization of Coupons: Evolution or Revolution?” The event marked a decade of successful annual gatherings of established industry thought leaders and many first-time attendees.

The Annual Industry Coupon Conference brings together national and international representatives from retailers, manufacturers, coupon proces­sors and solu­tion providers that sup­port man­u­fac­turers or retailers. As the only national conference dedicated exclusively to coupons in 2015, it highlighted throughout its programs the current industry landscape and future trends as well as changing consumer shopping habits and the impact of emerging technology.

Speaking of technology, to complement its ongoing promotional and informational strategies, this year ACP facilitated an exciting, live Twitter feed specifically for the conference.  Using the hashtag #ACPSanAntonio, attendees shared everything from expertise and insight, engaging questions for presenters, to collegial and fun comments about their enjoyment of the conference.  This made for complete conference communication on a variety of platforms to the benefit of those in attendance.

“This year featured many new faces in the coupon world, driven by a need to understand the dynamics between print and digital coupons,” said longtime ACP board member and co-chair, Andy Rumpelt of Kantar Media. “The energy and expertise was remarkable and clearly demonstrated the strength and viability of coupons, and the relevant challenges marketers and retailers are facing.”

 The Industry Experts

 The conference kicked off with a Coupon 101/102 education workshop. The workshop reviews all aspects of the couponing industry in an informative and interactive format designed for individuals new to couponing, or those who need an update and refresher course. Presenters are industry experts and pertinent topics included:

  • Industry Overview
  • Effective Coupon Strategies
  • Coupon Distribution Types
  • Coupon Design
  • The Redemption Cycle
  • Family Code Management & GS1 Databar
  • Coupon Misredemption & Managing Risk

In the main conference session, as the keynote presenter, Tina Wells of Buzz Marketing Group shared her expertise on how to influence millennials, while also addressing Generation X, and how the adoption of technology and use of social media will forever change the coupon industry.

The ever-changing coupon industry is evolving with new technologies, and shifting consumer behavior in an unpredictable economy.  There was much to see, hear, and learn at the Industry Coupon Conference.  Highlights included:

  • Patti Mandel, Marketing Strategist and Innovator, demonstrated how to develop successful promotion plans given a volatile marketplace.
  • Linh Peters, Spartan Nash, described how her “Yes Rewards You” digital coupon program was successfully built, and how it engages and influences shopping behavior.
  • Mark Heckman, a consultant with expertise in digital technology & content, customer loyalty programs, and retail marketing, was back again to moderate a Digital Coupon Panel with digital coupon leaders that explored the successes, opportunities and challenges of this emerging coupon vehicle.
  • The Operations Track tackled key issues with a template of “Issues, Experts, Best Practices and Discussion”. Topics included GS1 Databar, Counterfeits and Coupon Fraud and Digital Coupons.
  • Inmar and Kantar Media presented the latest trends and consumer insights in the Promotion Track such as the factors that have led to the doubling of Load-to-Card (L2C) coupon redemptions, as recently reported by Inmar.

The Valued Supporters

The conference was developed under the leadership of the Association of Coupon Professionals in collaboration with the Joint Industry Coupon Committee, Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers of America, GS1 US, Coupon Information Center and the Brand Activation Association.

The Conference Planning Task Force was led by co-chairs Beth Buresh, Inmar and Andy Rumpelt, Kantar Media.

Sponsors included: Gold: Catalina, HP; Silver: Inmar, You Technology, DSS, Pinpoint Data, WS Packaging Group, Chetu, CoupSmart; Bronze: Arrowhead, Invisipon; Events: Mandlik and Rhodes, Brand Technologies.

 The Award Winner

As is conference tradition, a spotlight award for Lifetime Achievement was presented.

This recognition, formerly the William B. Cargill Award, is the most prestigious award given by the ACP. This award is designed to recognize an industry professional who has succeeded within his or her own organization and spurred change and growth within the coupon promotion industry.

Ron Fischer of Redemption Processing Representatives, Inc. (RPR) was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.   The Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious award granted by the Association of Coupon Professionals (ACP). The award is designed to recognize an industry professional who has succeeded within his or her own organization and spurred change and growth within the coupon promotion industry.

RPR has been a member of ACP since 1994. Ron has served on the Board since 1995, held several executive positions including President in 2003 and 2004, and currently is Chairman of the Guidelines Committee.

The Leadership

The annual ACP elections were held.  The overall board of directors generally consists of 14-19 members (currently at 15) who lead the pursuit of the ACP mission with the assistance of the Executive Director to  help manufacturers and retailers effectively execute coupon promotions.

Among executive committee members, Jackie Broberg, General Mills was elected President and Joanne Walk, Hormel Foods was elected Vice President, both to two year terms.

In addition to the executive committee, others elected to the board of directors included: Jane Michels, Coupons, Inc.; Val Stark, S.M.S.; Cheryl Riley, Kellogg Company; and Earl Ellsworth, Universal Marketing.


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